Lighting is more important to your retail store than you may think. It can attract customers, keep them in your store longer, and get them to buy more. Lighting affects their mood, too. And brightness can direct your customer's attention to what you want them to see. As with everything in retail, using lighting to create an excellent customer experience is both an art and a science.
The Science Behind the Art
Big box stores have bright lights throughout the entire store. It helps shoppers see the "big picture," which subtly translates to "great selection." But even the most cavernous store uses specific displays to help customers zero in on certain products. They also use lifestyle settings that help customers visualize how to use products. That requires specialized lighting techniques and some strategic planning.
Different lighting effects work in different ways, so it is essential to know what you want to accomplish:
- Create a mood
- Draw attention to an entire display or area
- Highlight specific items within a display
LED lights have become increasingly popular with all types of retailers. LEDs are versatile, burn cool, save energy, and last a very long time. Most important, they provide the highest color rendering index rating (CRI). Light is made up of colors, and CRI indicates the number of colors within the spectrum that are projected by the light source. The more colors, the more natural-looking the light. This can be critical when it comes to lighting some types of merchandise.
Natural light makes customers feel more comfortable, but sometimes, you want to make them a little uncomfortable to create an edgy atmosphere or catch their eye.
Color temperature matters, too. Warmer colors feel friendlier, cool colors increase a sense of spaciousness.
Transforming Science into Art
Vertical or layered lighting techniques give your store depth and encourage shoppers to move around and browse. You can achieve vertical separation by combining general lighting with spotlights and backlight. Varying the number of spotlights and lighting direction enhances the dimensional effect and adds drama and excitement.
Accent lighting draws attention to something specific. That could be an entire display or one part of an entire display. For example, you might want to highlight the purse your mannequin is carrying. But what if you want to also highlight her bracelet? And her necklace? And her shoes? Dynamic lighting can do that, turning spotlights on and off to reveal different focal points.
Learn the language of lighting
If you want to delve deeper into the why and how of retail lighting, this detailed article will help you understand the psychology behind lighting (including the color of light). It also offers practical examples of how different choices affect your store’s overall ambiance as well as specific displays.